Women to be warned about abusive partners


18 July 2011

by Stephen Gregory

Women may receive warnings over any violent incidents in a new partner’s past, in a new bid to reduce occurrences of domestic violence and abuse.

A new scheme – named “Clare’s Law” after Clare Wood, a 36 year old who was murdered by a man she met online – would ensure that police were able to alert an individual if their new partner had a history of violence against women.

The plan is to make use of the recently-launched Police National Database, though it has not yet been established exactly how it will be implemented. Suggestions have involved releasing information on a partner’s past if a woman raises concerns over their behaviour, or even actively approaching those noted to be in a new relationship with a known abuser.

Home Secretary Theresa May is currently considering the implementation of the scheme, with a statement from the Home Office saying that “We're looking at how the roll-out of the police national database can further help forces identify and monitor repeat perpetrators, providing further protection to victims”.

After the murder of Clare Wood, an independent investigation suggested that there had been a number of failures in the way the Greater Manchester Police had dealt with her claims that her killer, George Appleton, had threatened and attacked her previously. Appleton had a history of domestic abuse on file and the failure of the police to address this was heavily criticised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Wood’s father, Michael, is to launch the proposal today, feeling that such a law being in place could have prevented his daughter’s death. “My daughter wasn't stupid,” he said in a statement to the Mail on Sunday. “If she had known about that man's past, she would have taken herself out of there in a heartbeat.”

Statistics indicate that two women are killed every week by violent partners.

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